Dr Alan Ryan is the Executive Director of the Australian Civil-Military Centre. He was previously the Principal of the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies at the Australian Defence College. Prior to this appointment he was the Senior Adviser to the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Robert Hill. In that role, he was responsible for advising the Minister on intelligence, operations, strategic and international issues. He has also worked as a consultant, providing consultancy services on strategy, security and crisis management to clients that included Australian government departments, the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the United Nations.


Rob was appointed Director General Emergency Management Australia (EMA) in the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, on 4 September 2018. In this role, Rob is the senior advisor to government on matters relating to the coordination of Australia’s response to crises, including natural disasters, and the consequences of terrorist or security-related incidents.

As Director General, Rob oversees the development of national emergency management capability, supports national emergency management governance arrangements, and administers the Australian Government’s disaster recovery programs. Rob also oversees the Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre; a 24/7, all-hazards situational awareness and disaster coordination facility, which also houses the National Security Hotline.

Prior to his appointment as Director General, Rob was Assistant Secretary, Crisis Management Branch, EMA, and before that, led the Health Emergency Management Branch in the Australian Government Department of Health’s Office of Health Protection.

Rob has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Australian National University, a Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management from Flinders University, and is an alumnus of the National Security College Senior Executive Service program.


Beth Eggleston has held key humanitarian coordination roles in a range in peace operations and humanitarian response contexts. For 20 years, Beth has worked in the humanitarian sector specialising in civil-military coordination and humanitarian reform. Beth has field experience in Afghanistan, Liberia, Tonga, Costa Rica, Laos PDR, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Whilst working with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) in Afghanistan for several years, Beth developed civil-military guidance, policy on interaction with Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) and was involved in rolling out humanitarian reform, including the cluster approach.

Beth also has experience working alongside host governments, including the National Disaster Management Offices, with local and international NGOs, and has been on short-term deployments to Pakistan, Solomon Islands, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.


James Gilling joined AusAID in 2001 as economic adviser. James has worked overseas for the department in Fiji and Indonesia, where he was head of the aid program from 2013 to 2015. Before taking over as Humanitarian Coordinator he ran DFAT’s Contracting and Aid Management and Pacific Bilateral Divisions. Prior to joining AusAID, James worked as an economist with Oxford Policy Management, managed DFID’s Natural Resources office in Nigeria and was a researcher with the UK’s Natural Resources Institute. He was an ODI Fellow between 1987 and 1989, working with the Department of Agriculture and Livestock in Port Moresby. As head of the Humanitarian, NGOs and Partnerships Division, Mr Gilling works with a dedicated and highly professional team who plan, oversee and implement Australia’s $500m commitment to meeting growing global humanitarian needs, as well as manage a range of important partnerships with international and domestic NGOs.


Mr Martyn Hazelwood is the Director, Regional Development at Geoscience Australia. He is a geoscientist specialising in quaternary geomorphology and geohazards.

In his current role, Martyn leads a team of geoscientists in the delivery of the disaster risk reductions projects in the Pacific for the Australian Aid program. The focus of these projects is capacity development for in-country science and technical agencies, with an overarching aim of improving community safety. We have active projects in Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.


Prof. Susan Cutter is a Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography at the University of South Carolina and director of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute and the IRDR Center of Excellence on Vulnerability and Resilience Metrics.  She has authored or edited 15 books, 150+ plus peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and mentored more than 60 masters and doctoral candidates.  Her research focusses on vulnerability and resilience science with specific reference to methods, models, and metrics.  Her scientific contributions include the hazards of place model of vulnerability, the disaster resilience of place model, as well as tools for assessing spatial and temporal variability in vulnerability (the Social Vulnerability Index or SoVI®) and the Baseline Resilience Indicators for Communities (BRIC) Index.  Her policy-relevant work focuses on the evidentiary basis for emergency management and disaster recovery policy and practice at local, state, national, and international levels. In particular, she continues to lead investigations of the disproportionate spatial and temporal impacts of disasters on vulnerable populations and the places where they live. 


Prof. Matthias Garschagen is Chair in Human Geography and heads the Teaching and Research Unit for Human Environment Relations at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU). He is also an Honorary Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. Amongst other functions, Prof. Garschagen currently serves as a Lead Author in the IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) and the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).

For a number of years, he has been the scientific lead of the World Risk Report. His research focuses on risk, vulnerability, adaptation and transformation in the context of environmental hazards and climate change, mostly in cities. He is particularly interested in future urban risk trends and the evaluation of different adaptation options, including those to floods, heat waves and cyclones. fffffeff


Elizabeth Frankenberg’s research focuses on three thematic areas: the ways in which the health and social service environment shape the well-being of individuals, the ways that interactions among family members influence well-being, and how individuals respond to changes induced by unexpected events. Prof Frankenberg has exploited shocks – economic crises and natural disasters – to observe their influence on human capital and resource investments at the individual, household, and community level. Most recently, Frankenberg has examined the impact of the Indian Ocean tsunami on psycho-social well-being, post-traumatic stress as a function of exposure to community trauma, and the impact of the orphanhood after the tsunami on children’s short- and longer-run well-being. Research is oriented toward better understanding responses by individuals and policy makers in the aftermath of shocks.


Bevlyne is social scientist and experienced participatory research practitioner who has worked in community development and action research for over 20 years. She is an adjunct fellow at the Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University. She has lectured post graduate courses in the Universities in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Denmark and has a keen interest in developing community capacity and engagement for effective disaster response. Her work in Northern Australia has focused on increasing understanding of resilience among remote Aboriginal communities. She has been collaborating on a project to develop training materials for leadership in disaster response among indigenous communities. She is also leading a component of a project focusing on ways to strengthen local level engagement in disaster response in Central Arnhem. More recently, she has been drawn to southern Africa where the recent disaster of the biggest cyclone to hit the southern Hemisphere – cyclone Idai, has brought into sharp focus the importance of developing robust community driven responses in the face of failed states. Her broader professional experience is informed by leadership roles key indigenous research and evaluation products undertaken with the Aboriginal Research Practitioners’ Network (ARPNet) which she founded in 2007.


Holger is Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Adelaide. His expertise is in natural hazard risk mitigation, climate change impact assessment and adaptation, integrated modelling, decision support, optimization, machine learning, risk and uncertainty analysis and strategic planning under uncertainty. He is the research leader of the Economics and Strategic Decisions research cluster of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre and leads a project on developing decision support systems for long-term disaster risk reduction, including bushfires and a range of other hazards, which have been co-developed with more than 40 Government agencies and are being deployed in four states in Australia.  Holger is a Fellow of the Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand and a recipient of the Biennial Model of the International Environmental Modelling and Simulation Society.